Monthly Archives: May 2014

Panic and Guilt

It’s a nice sunny day in New York.  I’m driving back from a visit to my doctor.  Was worried about my heart after suffering shortness of breath and dizziness.  Turns out it might only be asthma brought on by the horrible hay-fever season in this region.  Driving south now on one of my favourite roads:  the Palisades Interstate Parkway – much the worse for wear after the winter; hundreds of pot-holes and craters – some badly patched with tarmac.

The windows are open and I have the music up loud – reggae, live from Jamaica.  There’s activity along the way as the Parks Department has decided it opportune to trim some fallen trees in the large median, probably the casualties of heavy snow during weeks of nasty winter weather.  Pity they are not spending their time resurfacing the road instead.  The little wheels on my Mini Cooper are suffering, but at least the car is small enough to dodge around most of them without sending neighbouring vehicles into the verge.

The State speed limit in New York is 55 mph, as of course everyone knows.  But no one really pays much heed, especially on a Parkway where there is no risk of a stray pedestrian or cyclist.  I keep up with the crowd at about 65 mph, well maybe 68/69 but who’s counting?

It is not exactly deserted even at this mid-morning time of about 11.15am.  There are a good number of cars, but it is not crowded either.  As I said earlier, none of us is obeying the speed limit.  I am flying along with the best of them.

A small Honda 100 feet in front of me has a very large cube-shaped box wedged in its boot with a very flimsy piece of string, can’t even call it rope, holding down the lid of the boot.  But it doesn’t look particularly precarious, and the boot is deep so the box is well positioned.  At least it doesn’t cause me any alarm, even though I am directly behind it.

That 68/69 mph I mentioned?  Well, still doing it.  Quite a large gap in front of me, nothing to the side and the cars behind are keeping a very respectable distance, in view of our speed that is.

Oops, crikey, a police car, facing the wrong direction, but definitely can’t miss me.   Oooh, I see him start up,  Yep, he’s turning.  Into my driving lane now, three cars back.  I have slowed but only by taking my foot off the accelerator.  Never brake, because they will see your brake lights and that spells ‘guilty’ without a doubt.  Oh no, his blue lights are on.  He’s pulling out to overtake the two cars behind me.  Blast.  I think I might have finally blown it.

He’s speeding now in the lane next to me.  Ok.  This is it.  My first ticket – ever!  Here he comes.  I prepare to slow and pull over.  Wait.  Can’t believe it.  He’s passing me.   Who’s he after then?  Aha!  The Honda with the very large cube-shaped box halfway out of its boot.  Well, really.  Should have secured that properly wouldn’t you say?

Thanks Honda driver.  I definitely panicked and was indeed feeling guilty.  Got away scot free.  Feeling smug now!

Oh what a nice sunny day in New York.